Zu93 - Mirror Emperor

by Sean Hewson Rating:9 Release Date:2018-07-06
Zu93 - Mirror Emperor
Zu93 - Mirror Emperor

Zu93, as the name suggests, is a collaboration between the Italian band Zu and David Tibet of Current 93. Zu are a new name to me but I have been a fan of David Tibet for many years and his 2016 collaboration with Youth, Hypnopazuzu, was one of his finest albums. So, expectations are high.  Tibet’s concept for Mirror Emperor is that ‘we all carry different faces, different masks, and all of them will be taken from us. We were born free, and fell through the Mirror into an UnWorld, a Mirror Empire. In this Mirror Empire we are under the Mirror Emperor, and there are MANY Bad Moons Rising. At the final curtain there is scant applause.’

The Coming Of The Mirror Emperor starts with beautiful acoustic guitar and piano. Tibet’s spoken/sung vocal joins and strings swell in the background. The scene is set for one of Tibet’s ecstatic/apocalyptic visions. A pleasingly fuzzy bass starts Confirm The Mirror Emperor. Tibet rips into the vocal and Zu’s instrumentation is well-chosen and adventurous. The distinctiveness of Tibet’s vocals and words can make everything he does sound like Current 93 but Zu’s instrumental tracks here are excellent. Enters The Mirror Emperor starts with low strings (Cello and/or Double Bass), there are also some high electronic noises to balance it out. The track moves into To The Mirror Emperor. This time finger-picked acoustics battle it out with hugely distorted sounds. The Heart Of The Mirror Emperor again features a fascinating combination of sounds and some lovely chords with a more restrained vocal from Tibet. The acoustics are back for The Teeth Of The Mirror Emperor and hang around for (The Absence Of The Mirror Emperor). This track is the closest to the building intensity of Current 93 with Tibet’s voice a growl by the end. Before The Mirror Emperor is quieter and To Meet The Mirror Emperor has moody tremolo guitar. (The Mirror Emperor is Absent) starts with what sounds like a thunder storm and is instrumental with guitar lines and ominous sounds. It stops abruptly and Tibet and an electric guitar start The Imp Trip Of The Mirror Emperor.  Awake (Mirror) Emperor ends the album with various plucked instruments, strings and clapping. Tibet comes in screaming, moves to a whisper, is replaced by a recording of someone singing, before returning with a sinister whisper.

I feel quite ill-equipped to review this album. As with most things that David Tibet does, it’s heavier than a death in the family. His world view is pretty singular and is based on personal visions and a lifetime of research into other visionaries. I love what he does, but I can’t claim to always be on the same page. Sometimes I don’t have the language to describe what is happening. Zu are a revelation. A bewildering array of instruments and sounds are used to frame Tibet’s words and voice. As a Current 93 fan, I am confident that Current 93 fans will love Mirror Emperor. As someone who has never heard Zu before, I will be checking them out very shortly.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
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